A tuning triumph has allowed the Rally 2 and 4 versions of Daihatsu’s new-look Sirion supermini to remain ‘green’ and mean.
For official figures just released show the UK-developed ‘warm-hatches’ to have virtually identical fuel economy to the standard 1.3 litre models plus tax-busting emission levels.
With first deliveries due late September, the 108 PS Sirion Rally 2, for example, offers an 8.1 second 0-60 mph time yet still gives 55.8 mpg on the Extra Urban Cycle compared to 61.4 mpg for the EL/SL.
Meanwhile, the four-wheel drive Sirion Rally 4 is actually slightly more economical than the factory-produced 4trak at 54.9 mpg on the Extra Urban Cycle.
And with CO2 exhaust emissions at 144 and 149.8 g/km respectively for the Rally 2 and 4, both cars qualify for a £100 12 month road-fund licence and fall into the lowest 15 per cent tax for company car users.
Priced at £9,995 and £10,995 (OTR) respectively, the Rally 2 and 4 feature extensive engine, chassis and braking modifications and follow in the tradition of the much-loved Charade GTti.
These permanent models were developed in the UK by Daihatsu’s own technical department and Bedfordshire-based Auto Image Limited.
Helped by the Sirion’s Dynamic Vaviable Valve Timing (DVVT), the engine receives a new free-flow air filter plus a new exhaust camshaft giving faster, earlier and more prolonged lift.
Already boasting a class-leading 102 PS and 88.5 lb ft torque in standard 1.3 litre form, the modified all-alloy four cylinder twin overhead camshaft engine now produces 108 PS at 7,100 rpm and 94.2 lb ft torque at 6,000 rpm.
Top speed for the Rally 2 is 115 mph and 112 mph for the Rally 4 with 0-60 mph times of 8.1 and 8.9 seconds respectively.
New, uprated front and rear springs are stiffened by 15 per cent and the ride height reduced by 20 mm for sharper handling. Wheel and tyre size grow to 175/55 R 15 on 15 x 6 ins rims while the wheels themselves are sporty 7-spoke alloys.
Brake pads are changed to an uprated competition-type material, which complement the standard anti-lock brakes with EBD (electronic brake-force distribution).
Other improvements include a short-throw gearchange and leather-bound steering wheel and gear-knob, while standard equipment for both Rally 2 and 4 includes air-conditioning and a CD player.
Launched this spring, the new-look Sirion range includes a prominent mesh grille, distinctive multi-curve headlamps, new bonnet and completely new interior and fascia.
And as a special launch incentive running until the end of September 2002, all Sirions come with a five-year ‘555’ warranty.
This provides five years’ unlimited mileage cover plus roadside assistance – both transferable – and five years’ free servicing up to 60,000 miles (non-transferable).
In addition, the Japanese marque of Daihatsu – which is now 60 per cent owned by Toyota – has an excellent reputation for quality, reliability and dealer support.Published 28 August 2002